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10th May 2010, 3:50pm
Cartoonist brings Day of the Dead to life
Cartoonist Tim Sanders in a cartoon workshop Language learners from Lincolnshire schools got a flavour of Hispanic culture as they explored the colourful Mexican festival, The Day of the Dead, at the University of Lincoln.

Professional cartoonist Tim Sanders, a Spanish speaker and scholar of Hispanic art, was the special guest as more than 30 school pupils visited the University for an event designed to develop their Spanish language skills.

The celebration of ‘El Dia de los Muertos’ – the Mexican holiday where families remember dead loved-ones – formed part of the University of Lincoln’s Routes into Languages programme.

Routes into Languages sees international students from the University who are native speakers of foreign languages go out into Lincolnshire schools to share their language skills with GCSE pupils.

Over recent months pupils from North Kesteven School, near Lincoln, and Gleed Boys School, Spalding, have been creating artwork inspired by the Day of the Dead traditions.

An exhibition of their artwork was held at the University as the pupils took part in language workshops, produced Spanish language radio programmes and enjoyed Hispanic-themed art workshops with cartoonist Tim.

Event organiser Andy Daglish, Senior Lecturer in Spanish at the University’s Lincoln Business School, said: “This event and the run-up to it saw a great cultural mix with students from Lincolnshire producing artefacts for a Mexican festival and working with Spanish-speaking students from the University. The real aim was to show students the importance of learning a language in order to further understand the richness of other people’s lives and cultures. There’s no doubt that this was successfully achieved. The benefit of having Tim here, as both an artist and a fluent speaker of Spanish, was that he brought to life and personified this.”

Tim, whose work is regularly published in the Guardian, TES and Independent, also gave a guest lecture on the Day of the Dead and Hispanic art.

He said: “I thought the event was a really innovative approach to encouraging language learning. As an artist, it gave me the opportunity to use my skills and knowledge in a way which I think was interesting to the young audience. It was certainly a fulfilling experience for me, combining art, history, language and education. The cartoon workshop was great fun. The school students produced some excellent and really funny material to add to the truly wonderful work some of them had already made for the Day of the Dead exhibition.”

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